HR professionals demand earlier involvement in change planning

The majority of HR professionals want to be involved in organisational change as early as possible, according to a survey by XpertHR.

Nearly all (96%) respondents said that HR should be involved at the earliest possible stage of the change management process so it can minimise the negative impact on employees and improve the success rates of such programmes.

Half of the HR professionals surveyed were not satisfied that their expertise was maximised to its full potential during change programmes. Of those who gave suggestions on how they would like to see HR talent used, 64% said they would like to be more involved at the pre-planning stage.

Overall, the survey found that both HR departments and senior members of the organisation are most likely to be involved in change management, but HR is likely to be engaged at the planning and implementation stages, rather than the initial, pre-planning phase.

Noelle Murphy, employment relations editor at XpertHR, said: “Our respondents feel that change programmes tend to be driven by finances, and presented to HR as a fait accompli – often with short deadlines within which to achieve the savings.

“HR understand the importance of ensuring employees engage with the reasons for the change and understand the resulting processes that will be put in place. This culture shift is often ignored, our respondents tell us, which in turn can have a negative impact on the overall success of the change programme.”

However, respondents based in smaller organisations were happier that they were being used to their full potential. Two-thirds of HR professionals in small and medium-sized enterprises were satisfied with the way HR expertise is used, compared with 39% in large and 42% in very large employers.

The report also found that the level of satisfaction varies across different sectors. The manufacturing and production sector came top with 63% of respondents satisfied with their involvement compared to 49% in other private sector companies.

The report surveyed HR professionals from 114 organisations, 107 of which have planned, initiated or undertaken at least one organisational change programme in the two years to June 2010.

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